Monday, June 18, 2012

spiced cherry chocolate pies and life-changes - Happy June hop, everyone!

Winter - it's time for pies and apparently it's also a time for serious life changes. About 3 months ago my partner and I had a discussion about why we live in Perth, it was after a fabulous trip to Margaret River. If you don't know much about Margaret River... basically it's an amazing food and wine town with great surf breaks. My partner (otherwise known as my culinary side-kick Dinosaur Jack) is a surfer and we're both pretty passionate about food and wine. Upon reflection we thought: why aren't we living there, it's more relaxed and it's a town built around all the things we really care about? 2 months later, almost like magic, teaching job came up there... just so you know jobs in that region are pretty much as rare as hen's teeth. So we threw caution to the wind and I applied... and even more surprisingly: I won the job! So in 5 weeks time we're moving to Margaret River and we couldn't be happier. I hope you're interested in reading about our more sustainable life changes in my upcoming blog entries. If not... it's probably not a great idea to read my blog anymore.

Anyway, in case you didn't realise I'm hosting the June Sweet Adventures Blog Hop right now and as you're reading this, not just telling you about my personal life for no clear and apparent reason. You might not have realised because you were completely distracted by my life. I'd love you to put in a recipe and post it up by the end of the week.

For this hop I'm combining some of my favourite ingredients, cherries and chocolate. I'm using tinned cherries, because they're softer and easy to get hold of. I also decided it would be super cutesy if I baked little individual pies in tea cups. If you want to replicate this make sure that the tea cups you use are ceramic, not china, as china will crack in the oven.

Spiced Cherry Chocolate Tea Cup Pies 
Makes 3-4 small but rich pies

You need:
2x 425g tins of stone free cherries (including the syrup they're soaking in)
1/2 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed if possible)
1 cinnamon quill
1 star anise star
2 tbsp sugar
Pastry tops
1 1/2 tbsp castor sugar
2 tbsp hazelnut meal
3 tbsp wholemeal flour (trust me, texture-wise it's amazing)
2 tbsp cocoa powder
20g room temperature butter
 2 tsp ice cold water

Put the cherries, their syrup, the cinnamon, the start anise, the 2 tbsp castor sugar and the orange juice into a sauce pan on the stove. Bring to the boil, then lower to a simmer for 20 minutes.

While this is happening, preheat the oven to 200C and prepare your pastry tops.

Sift the cocoa into a mixing bowl, then add the casor sugar, flour, meal, rub the room temperature butter into the mixture until it resembled brad crumbs. Mix in the cold water, then press together. The mixture should resemble a biscuit mixture. Wrap in glad wrap and refrigerate until needed.

I just formed little pie tops by hand, but you could roll the mixture out onto a well floured surface and use a cookie cutter. I just like the rustic effect of hand-shaped tops.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the cherries from their syrup and divide them amongst 3-4 little ramekins or teach cups. Top the cherries with the pie tops. Cut a little "X" through the pastry top to allow for mixture to escape from the pies while they're cooking.

Place onto a baking tray and bake in  the middle of the oven for 25 minutes, until the tops are a little more brown than before are starting to harden.

Serve immediately (however you see fit) with some cream or icecream.

The SABH is brought to you by 84th & 3rdDelicieuxThe Hungry AustralianThe Capers of the Kitchen Crusader, and Dining With a Stud. This blog hop is open to all food (and lifestyle) bloggers. Link-up any new, related posts published from the 18th to the 25th of June.
IMPORTANT - Please read the instructions below, they explain how to link up and how to get the hop to appear on your post. If you aren’t sure of something leave a comment or send me an email at and I will help where I can.

1. Click here for the Link Code
     – Grab the code and add it to the bottom of your sweet-pie-related post, you will need to do this in HTML view.
    * Adding the code will create the thumbnail link list on your post so people can hop from one entry to the next!
    * REMEMBER – if you are on [not self hosted] the list will not show on your blog, please create a text link back to this post so others can hop through the entries!
    2. Grab the SABH Sweet as Pie badge and add it to your post
     – you can get it at the top of this post or from the announcement page.
    * Just right click on the image, ‘save as’, upload to your site and add it to your Pie post.
    * Link the badge or a line of text to the hostess post [that's this page here] so that others can view the instructions on how to join.
    3. Click here to Enter the Hop
     – This is the really important bit! The badge and thumbnail list are on your post, make sure to enter the hop so you appear in the list.
    * On the entry screen, please add the link to your Pie post [not your homepage].
    * When asked for ‘your name’ please enter your blog name, not your name.
    * When asked for a back link, link to this post.
    * Your entry will be submitted when you click ‘crop’ on your photo.
PLEASE NOTE – your linked post WILL NOT appear straight away in the blog hop thumbnail list. To combat spam this is a moderated hop. Your post will be visible in the list after approved. Entries are approved as soon as super-humanly possible.If you are on Twitter use the #SABH to tell the world about your Pie post and follow us @SweetAdvBlogHop for new hop announcement and general deliciousness...


  1. Thanks for hosting this month's hop. I love joining in. I haven't cooked much with cherry but it is obviously a winning combination with chocolate :) Congratulations on your new job and life changes. I look forward to reading about your sustainable life changes in the coming months.

  2. Chocolate and cherries - yum, love the individual servings as well. Congrats on the new job and the big move, can't wait to see what's next!

  3. Congratulations on getting the job in Margaret River!! I remember having this conversation with you when we travelled to Margaret River earlier this year and it's so good that it's now a reality. Look forward to visiting you and see what short of food adventures you and Dinosaur Jack get up too. Love the simplicity of your tea cup pie.

    1. I'm looking forward to seeing what adventures we get up to as well!

  4. I love the teacup pies - they look gorgeous! And I'm just a teensy bit jealous of the move- what a wonderful place to live :)

  5. Replies
    1. thanks guys! Yes, we're really super excited about the move and also the pies. But mainly the move.

  6. Ooooohhhh, Margaret River! I'm green with envy! We spent a week there on our honeymoon. Such a beautiful, untouched place. Congrats on the job and love your pie idea. Choc & cherries are the best. Putting my thinking cap on now for a pie to bake. Thanks for giving me an excuse!

  7. I love the idea of teacup pies! So cute and delicious too. Good luck with your move. I hope it all goes well!

  8. What interesting pastry :) sounds great!!

  9. WOW! I love chocolate and cherries, this looks divine!

  10. Lovely pies, I am surprised you had time to make them what with moving,=... good luck

  11. Thanks for hosting :) Love the cherries with chocolate! Good luck with the move!

  12. Oh wow - I can't believe you're moving to Margaret River. That's fantastic news and what an exciting new adventure for you both. I look forward to reading your posts from there.

  13. thanks Christina! We're really excited too!

  14. Congrats on the job and the move, great to hear your only a couple of steps from realising the dream. And your pies are cute!

  15. Yum, these look so good, especially with the icecream melting into them! You can't go wrong with chocolate and cherries, but I also like the idea of adding those spices into the mix - instant Winter warmth!

  16. Love chocolate and cherries and all served in a teacup... delicious. Good luck with the move! :)

  17. woww tat looks great